Six things no one tells you about eCommerce product customization
What is product customization? If this question is on your mind, then you are late to the party, but I will fill you in with the details. Let’s say you want to buy a coffee mug with your favorite quote written on it. What are the chances you will get it at any shop? Next to nothing. For this mug, you need to find a shop that is in the business of creating custom-designed coffee mugs. And that my amigo is the concept of product customization. It can be anything; a t-shirt with a picture of your gang printed on it, a whiskey-set with your initials engraved on the glass, etc.
I always have been an ardent supporter and promoter of customization. Customers get what they exactly want, and the online stores get to sell more. Everyone is happy. But is it the reality?
A significant increase in the number of customization businesses has created an illusion that all such ventures are successful. Everyone is under the impression that there is bare minimum hassle associated with the customization business and it is easy money. How I wish it were that easy. Like everything else in the world, online product customization has its negative side, which every person who wants to enter this field should know.
Here are six things that no one tells you about the online customization business. Read and analyze them before you join the customization bandwagon.
- Expensive for you. Yes, there are cost benefits in online product customization business but there are equal challenges when it comes to selecting the customization tool and the eCommerce platform. The platform and tool which is pocket-friendly may not have all the features that your customers need. Whereas a tool, that is expensive and gives too many options can result in choice paralysis. Also, the independent development of the customization tool and eCommerce platform that matches your need is substantially high.
- Like I said above, choice paralysis. A restaurant with a small menu is easy to explore and order as compared to the one whose menu is ten or twenty pages long. The same thing happens with customization. Too many options can lead to confusion, and the customers may leave the eCommerce website due to irritation and confusion. It is not easy to understand the customer’s mind and design a tool that strikes a balance between cost and features.
- High customer expectations. It is a fact that people love products they have specially designed for themselves. And this often leads to lofty expectations, which can turn negative for the seller. If by any chance, the customer does not like the product, then be prepared to say a permanent goodbye to them.
- People may end up hating the product (and the brand). It will sound extremely funny (and cringy) that I once ordered a black t-shirt with my name written on it, thinking it was so cool. The total number of times I wore it was just once, and I cannot even wear it anywhere outside because of the name. It shows how too much independence in customization can come in the way of product usage. Though it was my choice to print my name on the t-shirt, still I will not purchase the product from the same website because my experience was not good. Situations like these can impact sales and decrease the customer return rate.
- Uncertain decisions. Product return, exchange, shipping cost, etc. are one of the biggest cost concerns for eCommerce businesses. Online product customization gave a ray of hope to online sellers that since customers were getting exactly what they wanted, there might be bare minimum product returns. Unfortunately, that was not the case. What if I white does not look good? OMG! I choose such an outdated logo design. Such kind of decision-making uncertainty often leads to product return/exchange.
- Software upgrade: If you are using a third-party-owned customization plug-in, then it may create hassles for you during updates. Any update in your eCommerce platform may not be compatible with the customization tool and render it useless, or new features launched by the customization tool developers may not match with the platform’s technical requirements. The possible solution is to design both the platform and customization tool in-house, but again it is super-expensive.
My main aim behind this blog is to make you aware that everything about eCommerce product customization is not hunky-dory. If you think the above-mentioned points are of no or minimum concern to your product customization business idea, then I am more than happy to welcome you to this awesome world of online selling.
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Written by Harish Ramchandani
Harish is a Senior Technical Analyst at Sarvika Technologies, who helps in bridging the gap between our clients and the team through his decade-long experience in technical requirement gathering, project management and coordination. He’s a Commerce & Information Systems graduate, holds a CCNA certification, and has led CMMI Level-3 implementation. Harish’s work motto is simple, quality is of prime importance even if at times it means stretching certain deliverables. His days off from work are spent listening to music, reading Calvin & Hobbes comic strips and spending quality time with his daughter who undoubtedly is the nucleus of his existence.